NEWPORT County’s promotion bid suffered a huge blow after they were defeated by an impressive Bury outfit 2-0.

The Shakers are still trying to gate crash the top three in League Two and were good value for a victory in a contest where Newport never lacked for effort, but couldn’t make the quality from David Flitcroft’s side.

Boss Jimmy Dack opted to restore Adam Chapman to a more attacking looking starting XI; Yan Klukowski once again asked to work as a wingback as he enhances his reputation as County’s Mr Versatile.

However, it is unlikely Dack has ever had a bigger selection dilemma than what to do with striker Chris Zebroski, your Argus player of the season last term.

Chris will be back in court this month after his well documented troubles with the law and time could be running out on him being available to the Exiles this term.

It is known that Zebroski has been enduring personal troubles in recent weeks, but the club showed they are doing more than lip service in promising to support him, because Zebroski was included from the start and allowed the chance to rekindle his partnership with Aaron O’Connor, so effective at times last term.

Zebroski would be forgiven for not being in the right frame of mind to play football, let alone start in a vital promotion clash, but his work rate and endeavour was as impressive as ever.

The Exiles made a fast start, something that is by no means a given in recent months at Rodney Parade, the returning Ryan Jackson finding O’Connor with a pinpoint cross, but Nick Pope was able to save.

County’s confidence didn’t abate and they continued to do the probing, Mark Byrne denied a penalty shout in a move that culminated in a shooting chance for Yan Klukowski, but he fluffed his chance and completely missed the ball.

It proved important, because the visitors scored from their first attack in the whole contest, with a touch of fortune to their 22nd minute opener.

Christopher Hussey came short for a corner and the Exiles didn’t react, but his hopeful shot looked to be heading wide before striker Ryan Lowe got a brilliant touch, diverting the ball precisely past Joe Day who didn’t have the time to react.

The goal was harsh on the hosts who were straight back on the offensive, O’Connor quick control and turn allowing him a shooting chance, but his belting effort from 25-yards flashed just wide of the far post with Pope beaten all ends up.

However, that shot in anger was more the exception that the rule as the visitors grew in confidence, Tom Eaves twice failing to find the target from good positions and Craig Jones missing an unbelievable opportunity, failing to find the target with the goal at his mercy after intricate approach play.

The Exiles switched briefly to 4-4-2 as they searched for parity, but in truth, they’d have been relieved to reach the interval just a goal behind with the visitors seemingly able to cut them apart at will on the counter attack.

The scenario didn’t change after the interval with the Shakers again on the front foot, seeking to capitalise on any slip-ups from their rivals competing for the automatic promotion places.

They could and should have made it 2-0 just before the hour, but Day saved sublimely to deny David Mayor, whose shot seemed certain to end up in the top corner, Day able to compose himself well enough to then deny Andrew Tutte who blasted at goal from a full 30-yards.

County had done well to hang-in at 1-0 and Bury were visibly deflated by their failure to kill off the contest, the Exiles more and more threatening as Bury looked to park the bus and kill the contest.

The introduction of Miles Storey gave Newport more pace to try and get in behind, but they never truly looked like they could retrieve the deficit and it was little surprise when sub Danny Nardiello beat the offside trap and slotted home the Shakers’ second.

County (5-3-2): Day, Poole, Jones, Sandell, Jackson, Klukowski, Byrne, Minshull, Chapman, O’Connor, Zebroski Subs not used: Stephens, Feely, Porter, Jeffers, Storey, Parker, Tutonda Booked: None Bury (4-4-2): Pope, Jones, Hussey, El-Abd, Cameron, Tuttle, Etuhu, Mayor, Soares (Rose 80), Lowe (Nardiello 61), Eaves (Sedgwick 70) Subs not used: Hope, Adams, O’Brien, Lainton Booked: None Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands) Attendance: 3231